Founded in 1990, Project Fit America (PFA) is a national non-profit public charity committed to physical fitness for children. Sponsored by numerous hospitals, foundations, and health organizations, Project Fit America donates to schools' broad-based fitness programs, which are in over 750 schools across the United States.1
Project Fit America’s program focuses on self-esteem, smoking intervention, fitness as fun, exercise, and understanding the body, with the goal of giving children a positive relationship with their bodies as a deterrent to the at-risk choices they might face. Additionally, the program helps teachers diffuse a child’s aggressive behavior through physical activities.2
To help children develop the skill level to pass fitness tests, the Project Fit America leaders knew they would need to donate equipment to schools. However, as they looked for appropriate equipment, they found that most of the existing equipment was not recommended for children under the age of 12, and they wanted to have children exercising as early as grade one. This need developed into a new type of equipment made exclusively for Project Fit America that would specifically target the deficient areas where children most often failed fitness tests, particularly upper and lower body strength, abdominal strength, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility.3
When creating a fitness program for a school, Project Fit America incorporates many components in its design. Specific state-of-the art outdoor equipment designed by the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) is shipped to and installed at the sponsored school. Apparatuses include vaulting, parallel and pull-up bars, horizontal ladders, pole climbing units, sit-up benches, and step-test stations.4
Particular indoor mobile fitness equipment is donated based on the school’s precise need. The challenging fitness cups are for explosive cardio workouts and promote cooperation and team work. Sport Hoops are 3 pounds in weight and provide exercise for the upper body, cardiovascular system, and abdominal training and development. Pacer cadence tapes and the 200 Food Models for Nutrition Relays add to the indoor exercise experience.5
Two curricula along with lesson plan support materials are used to supplement existing plans of instruction for the school. The Broad-Based Curriculum is a general classroom plan given to all teachers and is specific to the grade level they teach. A second curriculum is the Core Curriculum given to physical education teachers. The lessons, which include fun fitness activities, provide an enjoyable experience for the children. In promoting teamwork, cooperation, and communication, the lessons help children cultivate life skills that they will bring with them into adulthood.6
Project Fit America also conducts on-site first and second year teacher in-service training for their lesson plans. They work closely with the school and provide pre and post test measurements of the program. Data is compiled and reports are given to the school to monitor the school’s progress. Community outreach programs are designed to engage parents and local community members to focus on their own personal health and that of their children.7
- 1. “Who We Are.” Project Fit America. < http://www.projectfitamerica.org/who_are_we.html > 24 Jan. 2011.
- 2. Ibid.
- 3. “Outdoor and Above Ground Fitness Equipment.” Project Fit America. < http://www.projectfitamerica.org/equipment/index.html > 24 Jan. 2011.
- 4. Ibid.
- 5. “Indoor Equipment. Project Fit America. < http://www.projectfitamerica.org/equipment/indoor_equip.html > 24 Jan. 2011.
- 6. “Program Summary.” Project Fit America. < http://www.projectfitamerica.org/program_summary.html > 24 Jan. 2011.
- 7. Ibid.